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Watch a lizard play video games with uncanny precision

The theme of today is animals learning to coexist with human culture. Once this bearded dragon and the baby seal join forces to sit on a couch AND play video games, they will be an unstoppable force of lethargy at near-human scales! Who says you need a big cerebral cortex to be a couch potato?

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Baby seal breaks into house to sleep on sofa

This baby fur seal snuck through a cat flap into a New Zealand home and snuggled up on the sofa. Awwww who's a good little home invader? Who? Who? Look, he's even got a pillow!  Okay, so the killjoy New Zealand Department of Conservation, which took the above photo, wants you to know that fur seals are actually dangerous and can bite you. Also, the little dude must have had something wrong with him to be wandering around a human neighborhood and sneaking into human houses. (On this point, I disagree. Sitting on couches is fun for man and beast.) …

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Critical List: Brazil notices oil drilling has consequences; bikes made out of wood

Brazil discovers that oil drilling is not good for the environment. Also, Congress is kicking renewable energy to the curb the way a mean person would a really cute puppy. Like these. Oh, wait, don't buy those, they came from puppy mills. People collectively put their fingers in their ears and go LA LA LA so as not to think about climate change. The Loch Ness monster wants to participate in the London Olympics. Geoengineering is cool and all, but it would be much cheaper to just not put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to begin with than to try …

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New species from Asia include noseless monkey named ‘Snubby’

There are still way more kinds of creatures out there than science knows about -- we're discovering new species all the time, and it always seems like the new ones are the weirdest yet. The World Wildlife Fund just released info about their 2010 discoveries in Asia's Mekong River region, which traverses Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and China. Among the new finds: A monkey with a pompadour and (effectively) no nose, nicknamed "Snubby." This description of Snubby from the report cannot be improved upon: Locals claim that the black and white monkey is very easy to find when it is …

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Brits make disused landfill into wildlife sanctuary

There are a few options of what to do with an old landfill: cover it over and leave it alone; turn it into a field for solar panels; convince people to play soccer on top of it. One town in England is going a step further and returning a decommissioned landfill to nature. The 16-acre spot in Stourpaine (how do British place names always sound so British?) was taken out of active use in 1993. Now, the town is planting trees and shrubs over the area in the hopes of attracting woodland animals and birds. The new forest will also …

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It’s panda-countin’ time!

Get out your panda-counting equipment, because it's panda census time! China's government is organizing the first panda census in a decade, sending out teams of wildlife biologists over hill and under dale in search of the elusive critters. And it's not as fun as it sounds. Pandas are really rare in the wild -- the last census, which was conducted in 2000, turned up only 1,596 of them. So most of panda census-taking involves traipsing around in the mountains looking at a distinct absence of pandas. Although actually, coming up empty-handed might be preferable to what your hands are full …

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Bear bile farming is just as bad as it sounds

Animal welfare foundation Animals Asia has just rescued 14 moon bears, which had been farmed and abused for a substance produced in their gall bladders. Gah. People are willing to perpetrate some real atrocities on animals in order to get valuable commodities -- rhino horns, elephant ivory, tiger parts. But man, once you start doing horrible things to bears just so you can get their gallbladder secretions, you really need to step back and take a look at your life. The moon bears have undergone gruesome conditions in the name of extracting bile, an important ingredient in a number of …

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Polar bears may be driven to cannibalism by climate change

If you watch nature shows, you know that male bears see cubs as tasty little McNuggets with fur, so it's not like one bear eating another is a big deal. Except that in the Arctic, polar bears are increasingly deprived of the sea ice they rely on to access seals and other tasty mammalian treats. This has led to speculation that, trapped on land where there's no food, they may be resorting to cannibalism at rates significantly higher than before. Jenny Ross, a photojournalist who says she’s been seeing higher instances of bear-on-bear action, told the BBC: Predating another bear …

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Study: The climate is changing faster than species can adapt

Whatever the Republican candidates for president may have told you, climate change and evolution are both realities of nature. But it turns out that in a fight-to-the-death throwdown, climate change would win by a mile. A new study published in the journal PLoS One has found that over the next 90 years, the climate in North America will change faster than species can adapt.  The rate at which species can change to adapt to their environment tracks with the climate's change rate over the last 300,000 years. The climate variations in that time have been nothing to sneeze at -- …

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Critical List: Huntsman goes right on climate change; the Mob goes green

Among Republican presidential candidates, denouncing climate science is like a bug. They all have it now. Even Jon Huntsman. Ban Ki-Moon is not particularly hopeful about the prospects of success at Durban. Justifiably. Britain is losing three-quarters of its butterfly species. Katharine Hayhoe is a climatologist and evangelical Christian, which means she spends a lot of her time speaking with Christian colleges and church groups about why climate change is a matter of fact, not faith. The Mob is going green.